Michael Zuppardo is a 18 year old student of Howell High. If there is one thing my son loves its BOWLING!!!!! Mike has been in Howell High school for 4 years and next year will be his last year. Three years ago, Mike tried out for the Howell High School bowling team and didn't make it. He was ok with this and accepted it like a champ. Mike didn't give up there, he tried out the following season and again didn't make it. This was upsetting to him, he felt he did well and was disappointed with the decision (a few others were shocked with the decision too, feeling he did very well). That didn't keep him down, he was determined to try again the following year.
Well, here we are in the 3rd year of tryouts. I would like to say first off, that I sent the bowling coach an email on October 16, 2013 and explained the importance of Mike possibly making the team. My son wants to be a "regular" kid and hang out with the cool kids. Being part of a team would be an important aspect to Mike's ability to grow as an young autistic adult. I was shocked when I didn't receive a response!!!!
It was very hard as parents to hear from your son "I don't know why I didn't make it, I got in the 100's for scores." I called the school the following day. I wanted answers for Mike!! I was told that there are not many spots for the team and unfortunately he just didn't make it. Well, that wasn't a good enough answer for me!!!
Here you have a child, who is the type of student that represents the "spirit" of Howell High. Mike doesn't ask for much, but when he does its something in his heart. I spoke to school officials and begged for Mike to be part of the team in anyway possible. Finally, they had something for me. The game plan was Mike would be able to participate in the practices, be a guest bowler at a couple of games, and receive a team shirt. Great!!! Mike was so excited and couldn't wait to start.
My husband took him for a new ball and he began practicing, 3 strikes off the bat (with a new ball). I received a call on Monday the 6th, a day before the first practice. The call was not a good one. Sorry to inform you Mike can't bowl with the team nor can he practice. The explanation I received was Mike traveling with the team would be a "liability" for the school, since he wasn't on the roster.
So now again I was to tell my son, sorry your not on the team (the school told him, I wasn't going to see that sad face yet again). Mike still wants to try out again next year. I hear all the time about "inclusion not exclusion." Even if my attempt to help Mike succeed in bowling fails, I would to have possibly given other students like Mike a chance to shine.